Well, I guess you'd have to call me a skeptic, when it comes down to it... I believe in nothing that cannot be proven to me. The only possible exception to that doctrine, I suppose, is my faith in logic. I don't mean to say that everything in life is necessary logical-appearing, but I do feel that, in theory, if you could know everything then you would be able to describe it all with some sort of logical system... I don't know how much sense that makes. And perhaps if I am forced to defend that opinion, I might change my opinion. Who knows?
As far as my religious beliefs, I'd have to say that I don't have any. I've never heard of a religion that is logically consistent with reality. Well, I take that back -- I am sure some of the religions I have been exposed to could, under some explanation of reality, be correct. But in no case have I found a religion that is the best way to explain reality, as we know it. I see no good reason to invent a god to explain the creation of life and the universe when none is needed. I mean, why did the universe have to have a beginning? Sure us humans are accustomed to all things having beginnings and endings, but why should the universe (by universe I mean existence itself, not just the physical universe) ever had to have started? And while it is not rigorously proven that humans are a product of biological evolution, it is certainly more realistic than any alternative I have heard. Don't infer from all of this that I am an atheist... At one time I considered myself an atheist, but I don't believe that there isn't a god (or gods) but I also don't believe that there is one. In other words -- I don't know, and to my mind there is no way I am going to know. So I'm an agnostic. For the most part it seems silly to debate the existence of god because there is no evidence either for or against it... It all comes down to whether or not you have enough faith to believe in a god without any proof. I, for one, am fairly low on blind faith...
Now, as far as morality is concerned I am of the belief that there is no such thing as an objective, universal morality. For there to be universal right and wrong would require some sort of a god to create this morality. I mean, I can define my own right and wrong, and so can anyone else -- but it requires a supreme being to impose an objective morality on all of us. I have no evidence for the existence of such a being, so I have no evidence that the act of killing a human being is anything more than just a physical act. It is distasteful to me, and it is distasteful to most people, but that gives it no more moral significance than combing your hair. I am not advocating going out and killing people since it isn't wrong -- that's why we have laws. Laws, while they may not reflect any particular morality, are still necessary for a stable society. Morality, as I am aware has been expressed by many others, is just a nice device for keeping people in check. If physical punishment won't deter criminals, perhaps metaphysical punishment will... So why not invent a supernatural judge who frowns upon, for whatever reason, shoplifting. I mean, it's perfectly logical that a being with the power and mental capacity to create a universe would spend it's time policing the local Stop 'n Go. It seems quite implausable to me. I don't deny it's possibility, but nor do I deny it's usefulness as a tool to control the masses. And, as Marx said (at least I think it was Marx), "religion is the opiate of the masses." It makes people happy to think that this life has some higher purpose. Hell, it would make me happy to think that. But I've got no good reason to... I've often tried to make myself believe in one moral system or another, but I always find myself questioning why I should believe it. So where does that leave me? In a universe that is indifferent to the existence of humanity. And to be honest, I don't find that a particularly disturbing thought... In my opinion, it's incredibly egotistical for humans to think so highly of themselves that they assume that they hold some central position in the grand scheme of things. Not that I haven't been accused of arrogance before... :)
I've just typed all of this up very quickly, so it may not be very clear. This is the result of much thought and debate within myself and with others... I encourage you to email me and discuss any of the above things with me, or discuss anything else, for that matter. As I've mentioned on my main page, I enjoy getting email from strangers. :) I'll probably add more to this stuff later...
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